'The language, it’s our identity': SBS wins Walkley for My Grandmother's Lingo

Angelina Joshua trials 'My Grandmother's Lingo' on a tablet at home in Arnhem Land (Photo by Elise Derwin for SBS) Source: Photo by Elise Derwin for SBS

SBS has won the Multimedia Storytelling Walkley for an interactive documentary about attempts to preserve endangered Indigenous languages.

The SBS animation 'My Grandmother's Lingo' has won prestigious journalism accolade the Walkley Award for Multimedia Storytelling.

The interactive online documentary highlights the plight of Indigenous languages through the story of young Aboriginal woman Angelina Joshua, who grew up not being able to speak her traditional language Marra.

Only three people in Ms Joshua's East Arnhem Land community of Ngukurr speak the language, and she has been working with a local language centre to learn and teach Marra.

The online interactive combines voice-activated gaming technology and animation to tell the story, with the project spotlighting Aboriginal stories, Aboriginal poems and Aboriginal songs.

It was animated by Gamilaroi illustrator Jake Duczynski, with sound design by Wiradjuri musician Kuren aka Curtis Kennedy.

“My grandmother’s language is important, and it’s up to us to keep it alive; to teach it," Ms Joshua told SBS.

"My grandmother was a very fluent Marra speaker. But a couple of years ago she passed. It was hard losing her – I thought, ‘Where am I going to learn now? This old lady taught us everything in Marra."

Explore My Grandmother's Lingo

“The language it’s our identity - culture, totems, countries, and skin names,” Ms Joshua said. “It’s dying, you know - it’s fading away really slowly.”

The SBS project was also developed and produced by Gina McKeon, Boris Etingof and John-Paul Marin.


Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch